Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Simple win in Buffalo

The Ottawa Senators ended their 4 game losing streak in Buffalo last night with a 5-2 win over the Sabres.  What was the single biggest difference between this game and the 4 they lost previously?  Battle level.  Yes there were many other ingredients but the team's overall battle level by all 20 players for all 60 minutes was for me the biggest difference in the game.  They won battles for lose pucks, they won one-on-one fights for the puck, they won battles for position and they won the battle for emotional swings in the game.  There were many other things which were greatly improved from the last 4 games but those things happened because the team won more battles than Buffalo.

Often times we all try to make this game more complicated than it has to be.  People believe that tactics or system are at fault when things don't go well for their team.  Truth be told its most often the most simple things which turn games.  Battle level, energy, simple plays, and a defence first mindset are almost always more important than which team ran their trap the best.  Just like a golf swing though the simple stuff can be difficult to do at a high level every day in a very long and very tough season.  In golf the best instructors always tell you to relax and create a smooth and balanced swing.  When you are all tense thinking of the 70 things that make up a good swing its difficult to be relaxed and balanced.  That's why golf is such a tough game.  That's why those simple things in hockey are so difficult to do at a high level each day.  They are easy and simple to say and very difficult to achieve each night in the best league in the world where the other guys are trying to do exactly the same thing.

Last nights victory for Ottawa was based on simplicity but there is nothing simple about doing it over and over again.

See you at the rink

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope they aren't happy with that single win. It was concerning hearing Spezza speaking about relaxing already.

There are 73 games left in the schedule and the Senators have 3 wins and 7 points. They need around 40 more wins in 73 games, 92-95 points at least for a decent playoff berth.

Now is not the time to take the foot off the gas pedal...keep performing guys.